105-year-old Battle of Crete veteran Alf Carpenter passes away


105-year-old ANZAC and Battle of Crete veteran, Alf Carpenter, was laid to rest today during an intimate funeral service held in Newcastle.

The service was attended by a number of Alf’s family and close friends, the Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon MP, and representatives from NSW RSL, the Joint Committee for the Commemoration of the Battle of Crete and Greek Campaign, the Cretan Federation of Australia & NZ, the Cretan Association of Sydney & NSW, and AHEPA NSW Inc.

On the day, a special visual presentation of Alf’s life was displayed. This was followed by a tribute from the President of the Cretan Association, Emmanuel Vitetzakis, for Alf’s service to the Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign.

“We read about Alf since we were children, saw him marching every year on ANZAC Day and he attended countless Battle of Crete commemorations, as many as he could even in his later years when it was extremely difficult to do so,” Mr Vitetzakis said in his tribute.

“In Greek we have a saying ‘Aionia h mnimi’ meaning ‘memory eternal.’ Alf will never be forgotten and his memory will always be eternal… Thank you for your service Alf.”

This tribute was followed by two others from Peter Frame and Darcy Currey, as well as Phil Winney OAM. Mr Winney’s tribute on behalf of the local RSL sub-branch included members of the branch laying poppies on Alf’s casket and then a guard of honour.

A number of wreaths were also laid by some of those in attendance.

Alf’s passing at the age of 105 was first announced by the NSW Returned Services League on Wednesday, September 7.

Alf was one of Australia’s oldest surviving ANZACs and one of the the last living ANZAC veterans who fought in the Battle of Crete.

“He will be missed by his fellow members of the RSL and we extend our condolences to his family and friends,” the NSW RSL wrote in a Facebook post at the time.

The Greek Herald recently paid a visit to Alf in August this year at his Maroba aged care home in Newcastle, Sydney to witness as he was awarded honourary life membership of the Cretan Association of Sydney & NSW.

At the time, Alf said the award was “an honour” and thanked the Cretan Association for “anointing me as a life member of the wonderful Greeks.”

(L-R) President of the Cretan Association of Sydney & NSW, Terry Saviolakis; Alf Carpenter holding his award; and the Vice President of the Association, Emmanuel Vitetzakis. All photos copyright: The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.

Alf always spoke openly about what it was like fighting in the Battle of Crete as a Regimental Sergeant Major of the 2/4th Australian Infantry Battalion.

In an exclusive interview with The Greek Herald in April 2021, Alf described how he, and other ANZACs, fought back as German paratroopers invaded the Greek island of Crete on May 20,1941.

Alf with a downed German troop carrier in Crete. Source: The Newcastle Herald.

He also praised the Greeks when he said: “The Greek people were delighted to see us there. They gave us every assistance and gave us food like eggs. I got on really well with the Greek people.”

We will remember him. Vale legend.

READ MORE: Documentary on 104-year-old Anzac, Alf Carpenter, to premiere at The Greek Club in Brisbane.




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